Doulas provide continuous support for the whole family through pregnancy, birth and the early days of parenthood. Filling a role that new mothers and families have always needed, we are there to listen, give confidence and not judge. Offering flexible, practical and emotional support we work in women’s own homes as well as in hospitals throughout the UK.
Doulas are usually experienced women who have completed some basic training. We do not offer clinical skills and are not medically trained.
The majority of doulas are employed directly by their clients while others may choose to volunteer. The Doula Access Fund (formerly a Doula UK project and soon to become a standalone charity) provides free birth and postnatal doulas to women in need and works with women’s refuges to ensure vulnerable women are supported as they become mothers. There are a small number of NHS-employed doulas and a number of voluntary schemes and projects as well as Social Services/Childrens’ Centres funded doula work.
A wide variety of women and families (from different communities, with different needs and planning all kinds of birth) hire doulas. We work with new parents who make a diverse range of parenting choices and believe there is a doula out there for every woman.
While doulas are not there to change outcomes there is growing evidence that having a birth or postnatal doula brings a number of tangible benefits. From reducing intervention rates, shortening labour and improving the condition of babies at birth. While this research is important, it’s the less tangible benefits of having a non-judgemental companion during a life-altering event that most women remember and value.